Cathy's Counsel
July 6, 2019, 9:00 AM

Seeking an Open Heaven


     Recently, I was meditating on Jacob’s encounter with the Lord as described in Genesis 28:1-20. You may remember the story …Jacob is on his way to find a wife in the land of Haran, his father’s ancestral homeland. It was late in the evening and Jacob had grown weary, he found a stone for a pillow and lay down under the stars to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, on the ladder were angels ascending and descending, at the top stood the Lord. The Lord spoke to Jacob from this lofty position and confirmed the covenant that He had previously made with his father and grandfather: I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[d] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. And even though this passage is rich in forwarding the biblical story of Jacob’s life, what caught my attention were the ladder and the open heaven.

 

     Actually, I was most smitten with the idea that angels needed ladders to move between heaven and earth. That was an entirely new idea. I somehow had assumed that they appeared at will on earth in a manner that was most convenient for them. However, as I looked at this passage and others I discovered a phenomenon known as an “open heaven” or a “heavenly portal.” Multiple scripture references helped clarify this little taught subject of supernatural openings in the heavenlies that facilitate the will of the LORD.

 

     The prophet Daniel, himself a servant of the Babylonian exile and kingly court was seeking heaven for an answer to a dream. He had been praying and fasting for 20 days. It seemed the heavens over him were brass. There was no open heaven or answer to his prayer until the 21ST day. On that day one like the similitude of the sons of men touched Daniel’s lips. This heavenly messenger revealed to Daniel that on the very day he set himself apart to pray and humble himself the answer was given. However, there was a great wrestling match in the heavenlies that prevented the answer arriving until help brought a break through by way of Michael the arc-angel. (Daniel Chapter 10). There had to be a “breaking through” in the heavenly realm in order for the answer to come. Interesting.

 

     In the Third Chapter of Malachi, the Lord lists the blessings that come through staying current with tithes and offerings: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. In this passage we are told that the paying of our tithes and offerings opens heavenly windows. What a great incentive to give back to the LORD for all the blessings of life He so richly bestows upon us.

 

 

     Surely, we remember what happened at the Lord’s own baptism. When, Jesus presented himself to his cousin John for immersion, The Baptist balked. He declared his own need to be baptized by the Savior and not the other way around. However, Jesus insisted and convinced John with these words: “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:15-17) This is such a powerful passage: the sinless One fulfilling all righteousness. And the result was an “open heaven.” The voice of the Almighty was heard announcing His pleasure with His Son. Amazing. In addition the Holy Spirit was seen descending on Jesus as divine affirmation and empowerment for His earthly ministry.

 

     Then there was Philip, the first Christian martyr. He was privy to an open heaven, but not before he had delivered a fiery condemnation to the Pharisees, which brought about his own demise: “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit, just as your fathers did. Which of the prophets did your fathers fail to persecute? They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. And now you are His betrayers and murderers— you who have received the law ordained by angels, yet have not kept it.” On hearing this, the members of the Sanhedrin were enraged, and they gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. At this they covered their ears, cried out in a loud voice, and rushed together at him. They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen appealed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Falling on his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.(Acts 7: 51-60)

 

     Likewise, The Apostle John was in the Spirit on the LORD’s day when Jesus visited him on the Isle of Patmos. In this truly astonishing encounter the Lord gave John very specific instructions for the Seven Churches of Asia. You can read these rebukes and admonitions in Revelations 1-3. Beginning with Chapter 4 we read this: After this I looked and saw a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had previously heard speak to me like a trumpet was saying, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” It was during this experience that the terrible times of Jacob’s trouble were recorded for us to read and be forewarned. It was given to John when the heavens were opened.

 

     Even though the following is an extra-biblical account, I want you to know about an historical account as given by our prayer group’s resident Hebrew scholar, Lee Collum. As we discussed “open heavens” and “portals of heaven” in our weekly gathering, Lee recounted documented accounts of the 1730’s “portals” being opened off the Northeastern coast of North America; from Boston to New York. It seems that the sailing lanes leading into these harbors became the recipients of a supernatural zones that were heavy with the Spirit of the Living God. As the ships sailed through these zones deep conviction fell on the sailors to the extent that they fell on their knees and cried for mercy. By the time they docked they had all professed Jesus as Lord with strong convictions against thieving, gambling and womanizing. This phenomenon lasted close to a decade and had a major impact on the culture of the young colonies.

 

     We are able to glean several spiritual truths from these accounts. Beginning with Jacob, an open heaven gave the patriarch a reassurance of the Lord’s continued covenant with his family lineage. It was a means by which the Lord revealed himself to Jacob in such a significant way that it influenced Jacob’s whole life. Then, Daniel’s open heaven shows us a means by which The Angel of the Lord brought the needed answer to prayer and gives insight to spiritual warfare and the understanding that we need not grow weary in praying through the second heaven resistance.

 

     In addition, Malachi instructs us that giving of tithes and offerings does more than just fulfill a Mosaic directive. It actually opens the windows of heaven allowing such blessings to be dispensed that we are not able to contain them! Jesus’ own “open heaven” experience came as he fulfilled “all righteousness.” This account encourages us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven in holiness and obedience. And as the pattern indicates we can anticipate hearing the voice of the Father as well as a release of the Holy Spirit into our lives.

 

     The biblical example of an open heaven we may least want to emulate would be that which Philip experienced. It was while the Pharisees were stoning him to death that the heaven’s opened and he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. Persecution most certainly opens heaven. The Holy Spirit reminded me that at this hour on planet earth Muslims are having many divine visitations through dreams, visions and trances. Are we able to make the correlation between the number of Christians that are being martyred in the Middle East and the thousands of Muslims that are looking up to an open heaven and seeing Jesus?

 

     We, of the Atoka Community Prayer Group, are earnestly seeking the LORD for an open heaven over Atoka. We are anticipating a portal over our stretch of Highway 69 much like the shipping lanes of 1730 that changed the culture of early America. We believe that when people drive through our city their hearts will be strangely warmed and they will find themselves thinking about Jesus and His sacrifice. We are preparing to have baptismal pools at the North and South ends of our town to accommodate truckers who fall under conviction of sin and are eager to do eternal business with God. We see all this in the Spirit. We see it as part of the blessing of an open heaven. Please agree with us. Amen.